Tag Archives: Big Stone Celtic Day

Not Quite a Diva

So the Celtic Festival is upon us, which explains why neither Jack nor Wendy can get a blog post out between getting the flags and signs to each venue, handing out towels to musicians overflowing the bookstore – I don’t even know the names of the guys sleeping in the Science Fiction section – and feeding the foster cats. dickson

Actually, herding the cats and herding the musicians is much of a muchness……

It’s all bedlam and bagpipes right now, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, but the cat rescue  still needs to be looked after. Appalachian Feline Friends is primarily a foster organization, but has a small place where we hold cats between leaving the local shelter and entering foster or forever families. AFF had an unexpected and urgent opportunity to empty four cages from the shelter, so in the midst of all the musical mayhem, when a fellow cat lover was able to pull them, I needed to figure out how to get the kitties into the holding tank by myself, since Jack was up to his eyebrows in parade plans.

Enter Barbara Dickson, singer-guitarist extraordinaire and this year’s festival headliner. She and Jack are old friends, from their shared hometown of Dunfermline, Fife. When I called the bookstore from the vet’s office to see if anyone had ten minutes to spare, I was told “Barbara will meet you out front.” She marched herself into the car, settled one of the carriers on her lap, and said, “Right, we’re off.”

At the holding tank, I warned her that there might be a certain catishness to the place, and she waved a hand. When I opened the door, she took a sniff and said, “Right. Where’s the broom and the mop bucket?”

For the next hour and a half, as I fed and watered and cuddled kitties, Barbara swept, mopped, and cleaned up suspicious stains. We had a blast. When I thanked her profusely, she said, “Pff. I love cats.”

And the next day, Barbara put on a dress, put up her hair, and delivered a standing ovation concert to open the Big Stone Celtic Festival.

She’s a woman like that.

You can hear one of Barbara’s Friday night songs here: Big Stone Celtic Day.

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, shopsitting, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

The Monday Post-Festival Exhaustion

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I know we didn’t put up a blog Wednesday or Friday, and now we’re reneging on THE MONDAY BOOK! We’re sorry, but frankly, folks, it was quite the BIG STONE CELTIC DAY festival this year!

So could I entice you to hop over to the BIG STONE CELTIC DAY page on Facebook (that link is gonna take you to my page, but you can jump from there or scroll down past the latest rescue cats to see the videos) and consider, instead of a Monday book, a Monday sheepdog expo, a Monday bagpipe band, a Monday parade of cool people happy to be doing something fun, a Monday series of musical videos from various festival venues, and a Monday post-festival happy exhausted vibe from Jack, me, and the bookstore cats?

Foster kitty Prospero pretty much summed up our mutual positions on Sunday. He spent the whole weekend being cuddled and carried around the shop by cooing strangers speaking in baby talk. It’s hard work. (And we promise to come out strong with blog posts again starting Wednesday. We’re just kinda… knackered right now.

baby 4

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, Downton Abbey, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, out of things to read, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Retirement, my Arse

Jack’s guest blog on the loneliness of the overworked bookseller

When I joke about there being no such thing as retirement I mostly am really just joking. Except this week…..

We’d only just got through getting Wendy’s new book into a formal proposal and out the door (a process that involves Wendy disappearing into the basement for hours on end while I cope with a list of chores not limited to but dominated by laundry, food services, bookstore management, and dog/cat care) when it was straight into the Celtic Festival with all its associated hair-tearing last minute complications. (Our favorite “least favorite” festival moment: 10:45 a.m. I go out to start my little red ’62 MG to carry Lady Big Stone in the parade, and the engine won’t turn over. Started at 11:02 for the 11:15 parade. I’m too old for that kind of excitement.)

I will add that Big Stone Celtic this year surpassed itself: lovely attendance, lovely weather, lovely performers, lovely vendors, lovely feel to the whole two days. It was delightful.

The day after that loveliness, all the signs and banners had to be taken down and stowed. One of the reasons we had such good attendance is that our friend Elissa headed up publicity; she thought of places to put those signs and banners that defy description.

On Monday we basked in the glow of photographs and comments on the Big Stone Celtic Day’s facebook page, and on the bookstore’s. We must have basked for twenty full minutes before it was time to turn our attention to the SECOND STORY CAFE–opening Oct. 8–and the health inspector’s visit to approve it. Bruce, the inspector, is coming tomorrow, but Rick, the heat and air guy, is still installing the new heat pump in the attic: estimated completion Friday.

Oh, and our friend Gayle Ross will be telling at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, so she’s coming up to do a house concert on Monday, Oct. 7. Quick and intensive advertising to be done.

Surely there can’t be anything else?

Well, we decided to empty the ‘love shack’ and shift all the romances from there into the shop since it’s not a great space for retail in winter. We’re creating a couches-and-coffee room upstairs next door to the main dining room, lining its walls with shelves, and bringing up the classics and poetry; the romances will go where those used to be on the bookshop’s main floor. Unfortunately, we can’t move them yet because first the kitchen has to be ready for Bruce to inspect Thursday and then the room clear for Rick on Friday and then Saturday we’re moving the couches into the coffee shop room so I’ve got to get the shelves built soon.

Did I mention that Adrianna Trigiani’s novel about Big Stone Gap is being filmed here in town starting in two weeks? One of the film crew was in yesterday asking if the restaurant would open while they’re here. I said, “God knows, because I’ve got to put a bathroom in our basement this month or Wendy will kill me.” (We moved into our basement to clear space for the cafe, but women’s bladders are small and my wife has grown tired of making the midnight trek to the toilet one flight up.)

What was that dear? Shelves? What shelves?

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, crafting, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, publishing, small town USA, VA, writing

OK, THAT WAS FUN!

pipe band

It was a lovely time. Behold the happy events that made up Big Stone Celtic, from the pipers above who fronted the parade to the little helmeted kids on bikes who formed the rear guard.

lady big stoneLady Big Stone Barbara Polly, and her escort, musician Doug Bischoff.

french club - Copy flags - Copy dar - Copy little bike kids

A day of music and merriment, from the Fox House acoustic stage, through the Celtic Kitchen, the mining museum, and the Sacred Stage, to the mainstage music at the downtown theatre. ron and beth joseph - Copy irish skye - Copy high school - Copy choir - Copy

And of course the glories of the evening dance!

dance finish - Copy dance - Copy

To see video of people dancing, and visit the rest of Big Stone Celtic Day’s photos, head over to the facebook page linked below.

https://www.facebook.com/BigStoneCelticDay

The newly-added children’s events – a bike safety course, Highland games light, and a few other fun bits – brought smiles all ’round.

redhead baby kids bikes - Copy caber toss 2 - Copy caber toss - Copy bouncy castle - Copy

And let’s not forget the lovely, elegant, lively, vibrant Friday night concert.

jack and me - Copy iona - Copy

Or that Bob Dylan, our foster cat, went home with the base player from Iona (on the left in the blue shirt). We’ve had an email saying he likes his new digs very much, and plans to work with the band on the acoustic-to-electric thing in the near future. Iona 2boby dylan - Copy

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, humor, Scotland, Uncategorized, VA